Eyesight is a blessing of Almighty Allah for all the creatures. One however, feels the world lost when this blessing is taken away. Glaucoma also known as ‘Kala Motia,’ is an eye disease that gradually steals vision. It is a group of ocular conditions that contribute to the loss of retinal nerve fibers with a corresponding loss of vision. In most types of glaucoma, the eye’s drainage system becomes clogged so the intraocular fluid cannot drain. As the fluid builds up, it causes pressure to build inside the eye. High pressure damages the sensitive optic nerve and results in vision loss. Most have heard the word “glaucoma” that it affects the eye, but few people know what it is, much less that it is irreversible.
Global Burden of Glaucoma
Glaucoma affects around 67 million people worldwide. Experts estimate that half of these may not know they have glaucoma because symptoms may not occur during the early stages of disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 4.5 million people worldwide are blind due to glaucoma.
Glaucoma Burden in Pakistan.
In Pakistan, There are more than 1.8million glaucoma patients in Pakistan and almost half of them have already lost their eyesight, permanently, due to delay in diagnosis and treatment. A workshop aimed to raise awareness about glaucoma was held at the Pakistan Institute of Rehabilitation Sciences, ISRA University, Islamabad, Pakistan.
Lectures, presentation and skits were presented to sensitize students and community members about the danger and prevention of Glaucoma. Mr. Muhammad Qasim (Lecturer-PIRS) and Ms. Arifa Sajjad (Lecturer-PIRS) stressed the need of early diagnosis by regular eye check-ups after the age of 30 years and especially if person is having diabetes or hypertension. It was suggested that the government should initiate massive glaucoma screening programs for saving people of rural and far-flung areas from glaucoma and other eye ailments. In Pakistan 2% of glaucoma patients are children, which is a worrisome factor. Therefore, community awareness needs to be significantly increased.
Help Raise Awareness
Awareness and regular eye health check up are critical. World Glaucoma Week is held in March each year to raise & increase awareness about glaucoma amongst the community and health professionals. Therefore, Pakistan Institute of Rehabilitation Sciences aimed at raising the awareness about the beating the invisible glaucoma. Early detection and treatment literally saves sight, as over 90% of individuals who are diagnosed early will retain useful sight for life. Despite such promising results, it is estimated that over 50% of cases of glaucoma remain undetected.